Dr. Cortney Baker
I didn’t know I was gonna have my own business. And I knew that I wasn’t able to wait tables the rest of my life because patience is a virtue that I just wasn’t blessed with. And so I didn’t know how I was going to go to school, but I was going to go to school. That was my biggest because when I was growing up, it was always Where are you going to go? Not? Are you going to go to school? And so I met my first husband, and we got married, and I moved to Illinois where I knew nobody. And after six months of being a stay at home, Mom, I was like, this is for the birds. I can’t do this. And so I enrolled in junior college and started school.

Jeremy Weisz
So at what point do you decide I am going to go on and get my doctorate?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well, that was actually I finished undergrad and went directly into my master’s degree. I’m a speech pathologist by training. And right before I started undergrad at the university, I got divorced from my first husband three years and to marriage and is a long story, but it was I loved being married. We just weren’t good for each other and he’s no longer with us. passed away when my daughter grew up. Yeah, so really close to his family though. But I started school and then I finished college with my master’s degree in communication disorders and science. is right after right before September 11. And then I, I was 28. And I was pretty much tired of being an undervalued employee for that I had been in the workforce and decided pretty much I was gonna do it myself and realize that if I could have a business and my competitive advantage be just to treat people well, then success would follow.

Jeremy Weisz
I’m sure your sister underlying had some motivation in this. What did you learn from your sister?

Dr. Cortney Baker
She was so incredible. I mean, she she admired me to the point where she just wanted me to succeed and she she would always say, and this was back then when beaches was like the big movie. She would always say, Cortney you’re the wind beneath my wings and I’d say Kim, your mind

Jeremy Weisz
you know, it’s it’s pretty amazing and you think that is that a big driving force for you through this company? KidsCare Home Health.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Yeah, it is. And I didn’t even know speech pathology existed back then. And you know, she’s always she is a part of my DNA. And my daughter’s named after her my daughter’s name Grace, Kimberly. And yeah, it’s just she’s, she is the reason I do what I do.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, I can see why the company is so successful and amazing because you have this such a strong driving force from early on. What are some of the maybe talk about some of the your favorite stories of people you’ve helped actually kids with special needs?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Oh my goodness. And I haven’t been in the field in a long time. But when I first started the company, it was just me with 10 patients. And I my favorite area to go to I’m in Dallas. And my favorite area to go to was the South Dallas projects. Because there were kids that that had a rotating door of people that were in and out of their lives, but they knew Miss Cortney was going to be a constant. And I would drive up and I had two little girls and I adored them. And their names were Erica and Jasmine and as soon as I pull up, I hadn’t even put the car in park and they’re running outside. And they knew no matter what Mondays and Wednesdays at four o’clock Miss Cortney was going to be there.

Jeremy Weisz
What kind of stuff did you do with them?

Dr. Cortney Baker
We worked on things like remembering their address, and phone number and They had a lot of learning disabilities, and just things activities of daily living to make sure that they were safe in an unfamiliar environment, memorizing their phone number and important things that attend a nine year old little girl should know.

Jeremy Weisz
It’s amazing, you know, we take a lot of things on a daily basis for granted, at least I do have to remind myself, you know, of those things. And I imagine going into those environments, it just puts a spotlight on things that we typically take for granted.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Jeremy Weisz
Um, what were some other So you decided to grow this thing at some point, right? Because you could have stayed Okay, I have my amazing client base and I serve them. What was your mindset around a point where you’re like, Okay, I want to have more staff. I want to serve more people.

Dr. Cortney Baker

It was more of a The idea of if it’s just me, I can only see 1020 kids. But if I hire and do it the right way, then my, the success of the company would be exponential. And that was the more of the reach that we would have. And there’s so many out there that don’t do things the right way. And I thought, This is my chance to really make a difference in their lives and make an impact the way I feel like a business should be run. You know,

Jeremy Weisz
what do you look for? Because you have this kind of this inborn passion and mission because of your sister and what you do. How do you hire? How do you find talent? What are you looking for, in someone to hire and how do you hire the right people?

Dr. Cortney Baker
We hire for core value alignment and our core values are commitment accountability. results and ethics. And if we don’t see alignment and all of those, we we hire, hire slow and fire fast. Mm hmm.

Jeremy Weisz
So a commitment accountability results and ethics in an interview process, you know, people are putting their best foot forward, how what kind of questions or things you look for in the ethics

Dr. Cortney Baker
piece, we give situation based questions. So, you know, early on in my journey at KidsCare, we were at a point it was two years into the journey. And I had just broken up with my partner at the time. We had very different ethical. We weren’t ethically aligned. And then I had found out that one of our highest performing therapists was committing fraud and It was about $100,000 a fraud. And she knew it, and I knew it. And I could have really taken that opportunity to sweep something under the rug, and just hope it went away. But I knew that I had worked so hard for my license, and that everybody who worked there at KidsCare was dependent on me to make decisions that would help them keep their job. And I knew no matter how hard it was, I was gonna do the right thing. So it was a simple decision, but it wasn’t easy. And we called the O RG and reported ourselves and they came in and did a audit. And, you know, I knew I could have lost the business. But it was more important to do the right thing and take care of the people. So we could sleep at night.

Jeremy Weisz
That’s pretty intense. Cortney like, it’s almost like someone turning themselves in. I mean, this case it wasn’t you know, you realize it’s not you Doing it but you’re still putting your business at risk.

Dr. Cortney Baker
But we build for it.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I guess yeah. Yeah. So what did they do when they came in? Were they were they more lenient? Because you just report it yourself? Or?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Oh, absolutely. And we paid the money back. And we didn’t even mean we were cleared. And that was in 2005. And then right after that, Jeremy, I had a pulmonary embolism.

Jeremy Weisz
Cheese. So yeah, I mentioned that, you know, in the front of the interview, where Okay, that’s not enough. Then now you have to endure eventually a seven hour brain surgery. Right. But right proceeded It was a pulmonary embolism. So what happened at the time? What were you feeling?

Dr. Cortney Baker
When I had the PE I, I just couldn’t breathe. I had this. I felt like I had a knife in my side and my dogs saved my life because I called my husband I was like, I don’t feel good. I can’t breathe, but you got to come home and let this dog in because I can’t get to him. And he came in and was like, I need to take you to the hospital.

Jeremy Weisz
What did they say? Like, what was the cause or what happened?

Dr. Cortney Baker
And I’d had a hernia repaired and it was just I don’t know if it came from a deep vein thrombosis. I don’t know where it originated. But yeah, I was put on the drip in the hospital for about a week.

Jeremy Weisz
So then fast forward, whatever happened around the brain surgery, how did that come about?

Dr. Cortney Baker
So that was in 2012. Yeah, it was after gum grafting. And I had a stroke in two places and had a seven hour brain surgery.

Jeremy Weisz
It was not related to at all No, it’s not related the pulmonary embolism or anything like that.

Dr. Cortney Baker
It wasn’t related necessarily, but I do have clotting disorder. So,

Jeremy Weisz
yeah, he’s in so what do you remember waking up from the surgery afterwards?

Dr. Cortney Baker
After the surgery, I remember thinking, I can’t ever get health insurance if I’m not an entrepreneur. Because back then, you know, we didn’t have this pre existing condition thing. And and I would have I just was like, if I ever I have to stay where I doing, I’ll never get health insurance and I was 37 years old.

Jeremy Weisz
I mean, there’s always a scary when you’re going to brain surgery. I can’t even imagine what your thought process is going in. I mean, you may be thinking like, I hope I just wake up.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well, I was so out of that. From the stroke. I mean, I went to my sink to go wash my hair and I couldn’t remember. I turned the water on and I couldn’t remember what to do. After the water came on, I looked at the water and I looked at the shampoo and conditioner and I looked at the water. And I couldn’t put the pieces together. And I remember that, but then after that I had a seizure. And then they called the ambulance and then I went to the hospital and it was two days later that I had the surgery, brain surgery

Jeremy Weisz
is your husband and multiple ulcers from this whole thing? I mean, what?

Dr. Cortney Baker
You know, it’s funny, I always tell him, I get to go first. And he was like, well, it’s not like you’ve tried

Jeremy Weisz
It’s, I mean, oh my god, I can’t imagine. So what happens with the business when you come back? Like how do you continue to run everything and, and function because I mean, it’s a lot a lot harder when you’re 100% healthy, but it’s a lot of stuff to do. And now, you come out of brain surgery.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well, it’s very interesting the timing of it all. I believe it’s God, but into 2012 I had transitioned out of the daily operations, and you talk to a lot of entrepreneurs. So you know, that in entrepreneurship, I believe that there are, there’s two different camps. There’s either builders, or sustainers. And I’m a builder through and through, I love the building process. And we were really sustaining at that time. And that just, I wasn’t fulfilled. And so I had transitioned out of the daily operations, so I could go back to school and get my doctorate degree, a month before the stroke.

Jeremy Weisz
Hmm. Talk about that for a second transitioning out of daily operations. You know, I talked to Michael Gerber of the EMF who talks a lot about the systems and things to transition, you know, going from entrepreneur operator to transition, you know, it’s, it’s hard for bill to do it. Sometimes people never do it. What were the things you were able to put in place advice for other entrepreneurs who want to actually transition out of the daily operations,

Dr. Cortney Baker
you have to have a really strong number two, that’s first and foremost. And then you have to start training them on the things, the processes and operating procedures that you do. And delegate.

Jeremy Weisz
What was the biggest thing, the hardest thing for you to delegate? There’s always that thing that I’m going to hold on to this is the last thing that’s going to, I’m going to grip on to that people are going to take away from me, what was that thing that you felt like you did better than anyone else? And this was the last thing you delegated before you fully transitioned out.

Dr. Cortney Baker
You know, my husband always says I’m a master delegator, which I’m like, I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not. But the hardest thing i i don’t know because I just I was so ready to go back to school at that point, and really fulfill a dream that for that 19 year old single teenage mom who felt like she’d never amount to anything? To do it for her? Yeah. So

Jeremy Weisz
it could be something maybe maybe you you don’t grip on and feel like you need to do it but maybe what was the hardest job or function that you had to replace for you that you just the company dependent on this? Was there a specific role or job that you did that was harder to replace than others?

Dr. Cortney Baker
I think it was probably learning our process for quality assurance and making sure that our standards were super high, and that that was carried through. And but it wasn’t so much that process was in place. But it was getting somebody else to understand that process and implement that on their own and being okay with that.

Jeremy Weisz
You have certain software or tools that you find helpful to document processing Or to have slps? Are there any, like, software’s that people should look at out there looking to help systemize?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well, for us, we use a point of care system. So we it’s called KanTime and it’s like all of our patient records are in that. So we are completely digital, the entire company,

Jeremy Weisz
huh? What was I want to talk about your book? Dr. Baker, so conquering the mythical glass ceiling. Okay. What do you mean by that? Exactly.

Dr. Cortney Baker
So if you tell a little girl, you’re going to have this object that’s going to stand in your way and you’re not going to be able to see it, feel it, taste it, smell it or move it, and it’s going to hold you back on your career climb. Good luck. She has no power. She’s a victim. But instead, what my research found was that There are four challenges that women go through when advancing their career. So instead, if we look at our journey as a maze or a labyrinth, and know that there’s going to be challenges, and that we’re going to hit this wall and we’re going to have to go back and turn around and you know, backtrack and go vertical, or go horizontal to go vertical. Then instead the power is in our hands. And we can get to the end and persevere and create success, however we define it.

Jeremy Weisz
So what about the four challenges?

Dr. Cortney Baker
What are they? Yeah, okay. They’re family obligations. Women do nearly twice the amount of work childcare and housework than men do and like 10 times, well, that was pre pandemic so knows what it is right now. And then the second one is limited advancement. opportunities. The third is gender based discrimination. And there’s three facets of gender based discrimination. The first is stereotypes. Women are damned if we do damned if we don’t. The second is the good old boys club, who I lovingly refer to as Bubba. And Bubba still out there, but not all men are Bubba’s. And the third though, is what threw me for the most loops was how many women were responsible for holding other women back.

Jeremy Weisz
And what do you mean by the same?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well through cat cattiness and backbiting and stabbing each other in the back and you know, sabotaging we really treat each other like crabs in a barrel. Hmm. And until we get to the point where we’re we’re playing on the same team, we can’t ever, ever gain gender equality.

Jeremy Weisz
And so what about the than the other book, The 10 do’s and don’ts for business leadership, maybe just go over? What’s a big don’t?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well, the fourth challenge, though, church was how many women lacked confidence, even at the executive level. So if you want to go to the do’s and don’ts, what’s one of the dos or don’ts?

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, maybe a don’ts. Like what’s something maybe that’s counterintuitive with a do or don’t for business leadership that you found?

Dr. Cortney Baker

Don’t I’m trying to remember what all they were. It’s been a while since I wrote that one. I mean, if you say you’re gonna do something, then follow through with it and have accountability and don’t think that there’s no way that you’re infallible. You know, own your own. mistakes. Eat that humble pie.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, I’m the I’m curious also, how did you How do you know ANDREA

Dr. Cortney Baker
HOUSTON through entrepreneurs organization?

Jeremy Weisz
How has that affected or helped your business? Yeah.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Oh my gosh I’m I am in a forum that has such a good group of other entrepreneurs and met so many incredible entrepreneurs all over the world that I would have never had the opportunity to me if I hadn’t been in an eo it’s a really incredible organization. And

Jeremy Weisz
Cortney, I want people to check out your podcast too. They can go to CortneyBaker.com And then just you know, you spell her name, we’ll link it up at C o r t and y Baker.com. Talk about your podcast a little bit the type of like who’s been a favorite guest will kind of People can what can they expect from episodes, there

Dr. Cortney Baker
Women in Business is the podcast and on I’ve released two episodes a week and one is an interview. And that Thursday episodes are just business tips and advice and strategies for female entrepreneurs. And oh my gosh, I’m almost at 200 episodes this summer, I’ll be at 200 episodes. So I’ve been doing it for a while, a couple, a couple years. And I’ve had some incredible guests and it’s really not names anybody would know. But the stories are so rich and just

Jeremy Weisz
what’s a must listen to which one sticks out? I mean, I’m sure they’re all good. But what sticks out to you is this is a must listen, you should start here. Here’s the guests. You should listen to

Dr. Cortney Baker
the guests you should listen to. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Well, my favorite my favorite solo episode, I would say is the one That’s my Ode to women who are too much why I’m okay being a bitch. And I don’t remember the episode number like 160 something. But that’s the title of it. And

Jeremy Weisz
that’s unforgettable. I’m not gonna forget that one.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Yeah. And my favorite. Gosh, I’ve had so many. I favorite recent one was probably I did one today and she sticks out in my head marry growth. He and she is not even on my show yet, but hers was good. Darnielle Jeremy harmons was good. Hers is coming out soon.

Jeremy Weisz
Any stories stick out like you said obviously the the women leaders are telling some amazing stories like like this sticks out. The Julie Clark story totally sticks out front. I mean, there’s certain stories that just stick out to me when I think about the podcast.

Dr. Cortney Baker
One of the women that I interviewed early on, her father was a serial killer. Wow, that sticks out. She’s she is actually Melissa Jesperson more and she is on Dr. Oz a lot.

Jeremy Weisz
Oh my gosh. So what did she tell you? About about that time?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Just how she was scared in the early stages of getting her story out there how scared she was because she thought people would be judging, you know, judge her for her father’s actions.

Jeremy Weisz
At the time that she know her dad was like a serial killer or was this like she found out after the fact

Dr. Cortney Baker
She found out because she needed to work on a family tree for a school project. And that’s how she found out. That’s insane. And she’s written a book about it since then, and been on Oprah and yeah,

Jeremy Weisz
So people should first of all, I have one last question or kind of two, but in one, one compilation. I want to just encourage people to go to your website. Cortney Baker.com again I said COR tney Baker.com check out your books, check out your podcasts, everything you have going on. It’s really inspirational. It comes from being in the trenches of doing this stuff day in and day out. My you know, since inspired Insider, I always ask Cortney, what’s been a low moment for you to push through? And then what’s been a proud milestone for you that you remember? What’s been maybe a low moment that you had to those challenging that you had to push through? I mean, you have you have numerous of them, unfortunately. Mm hmm.

Dr. Cortney Baker
But fortunately, yeah. I mean, they are what has made me today who I am, and I believe people definitely admire your successes, but connect in your struggles. And one of my biggest struggles was just a few years ago in 2017. We lost $3 million overnight, because of changes in the government. I mean, I’m in health care. So I feel Yeah, it’s a Yeah, I mean, you’re a chiropractor. So we are constantly at the mercy of whoever’s in office. And so no fault of our own just changes that we had no control over

Jeremy Weisz
this. So nationally, we got 3 million overnight just changes, you know, which is, which is the truth. It’s just one coat of people could change one code, billing code and then boom, stuff evaporate. 3 million.

Yeah. Yeah. So how do you communicate with the team? Like what do you do at that point?

Dr. Cortney Baker
Well, I mean, there was restructuring and realigning of different different service codes and things like that. And The thing was, it wasn’t like it just hit our company, it hit our entire industry. So everyone dealt with it at the same time differently. And there were some people who didn’t do it well. And when I say well, I mean ethically, and that was something I wasn’t going to compromise on. And since then, I have found one of my if you want to go to the high moments, I was talking to somebody the other day and she said, You know, I’ve always heard nothing but how ethical of a company kids care is, hmm. And that I’m very proud of that.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah. And then what did it feel like to win Business Woman of the Year?

Dr. Cortney Baker
It was an out of body experience. Because I was actually nominated for it and three years, two years and then I won. And the second year that I didn’t get it, I lost to Kendra Scott. The bill. Err jewelry designer. And so I was like, I don’t even know

Unknown Speaker
anyone I know.

Dr. Cortney Baker
So it was really like Third time’s a charm or three strikes you’re out so but really it was so incredible because I had quit drinking completely. I’m completely sober for years tomorrow. And I was able to thank you I was really able to feel like I was 100%. Me and there and it was it was a really proud moment.

Jeremy Weisz
Thank you for sharing that everyone check out cortneybaker.com. I think your next guest I don’t know if you’ve had Have you had Kendra Scott on the podcast?

Dr. Cortney Baker
I haven’t.

Jeremy Weisz
Next. You hear to hear Kendra. If you’re listening, you should be going on the Women in Business podcast. Thank you for all of you for listening and watching. Really appreciate it. Thanks, Cortney.

Dr. Cortney Baker
Thank you